Isa 56:1-12. The Preparation Needed on the Part of Those Who Wish to Be Admitted to the Kingdom of God.
1. judgment -- equity. John the Baptist preached similarly a return to righteousness, as needed to prepare men for Messiah's first coming (Lu 3:3, 8-14). So it shall be before the second coming (Mal 4:4-6).
near to come -- (Mt 3:2; 4:17), also as to the second coming (Isa 62:10, 11; Lu 21:28, 31; Ro 13:11, 12; Heb 10:25).
righteousness -- answering to |salvation| in the parallel clause; therefore it means righteousness which bringeth salvation (Isa 46:13; Ro 3:25, 26).
2. (Lu 12:43).
the man -- Hebrew, enosh, |a man in humble life,| in contradistinction to Hebrew, ish, |one of high rank.| Even the humblest, as |the stranger| and |the eunuch| (Isa 56:4, 6), are admissible to these privileges.
this ... it -- what follows: |keeping the Sabbath,| &c. (Isa 58:13, 14; Eze 20:12). A proof that the Sabbath, in the spirit of its obligation, was to be binding under the Gospel (Isa 66:23). That gospel times are referred to is plain, from the blessing not being pronounced on the man who observed the sacrificial ritual of the Jewish law.
layeth hold -- image from one grasping firmly some precious object which he is afraid of having forcibly snatched from him. The |Sabbath| here includes all the ordinances of divine worship under the new gospel law.
keepeth ... hand ... from ... evil -- The observance of the second table of the law; as the |Sabbath| referred to the first table. Together, they form the whole duty of man, the worship of God and a holy life.
3. God welcomes all believers, without distinction of persons, under the new economy (Ac 10:34, 35).
joined ... to ... Lord -- (Nu 18:4, 7). |Proselytes.|
separated -- Proselytes from the Gentiles were not admitted to the same privileges as native Israelites. This barrier between Jews and Gentiles was to be broken down (Eph 2:14-16).
eunuch -- (Ac 8:27, &c.). Eunuchs were chamberlains over harems, or court ministers in general.
dry tree -- barren (compare Lu 23:31); not admissible into the congregation of Israel (De 23:1-3). Under the Gospel the eunuch and stranger should be released from religious and civil disabilities.
4. please me -- sacrifice their own pleasure to mine.
take hold -- so |layeth hold| (see on Isa 56:2).
5. in mine house -- the temple, the emblem of the Church (1Ti 3:15). They shall no longer be confined as proselytes were, to the outer court, but shall be admitted |into the holiest| (Heb 10:19, 20).
a place -- literally, |a hand.|
than of sons -- Though the eunuch is barren of children (Isa 56:3), I will give him a more lasting name than that of being father of sons and daughters (regarded as a high honor among the Hebrews) (Joh 1:12; 10:3; 1Jo 3:1; Re 2:17; 3:12).
6. join ... Lord -- (Jer 50:6). Conditions of admission to the privileges of adoption.
7. Even them -- (Eph 2:11-13).
to my holy mountain -- Jerusalem, the seat of the Lord's throne in His coming kingdom (Isa 2:2; Jer 3:17).
joyful -- (Ro 5:11).
burnt offerings ... sacrifices -- spiritual, of which the literal were types (Ro 12:1; Heb 13:15; 1Pe 2:5).
accepted -- (Eph 1:6).
altar -- (Heb 13:10), spiritually, the Cross of Christ, which sanctifies our sacrifices of prayer and praise.
house ... for all people -- or rather, |peoples.| No longer restricted to one favored people (Mal 1:11; Joh 4:21, 23; 1Ti 2:8). To be fully realized at the second coming (Isa 2:2-4). No longer literal, but spiritual sacrifice, namely, |prayer| shall be offered (Ps 141:2; 51:17; Mal 1:11; Mt 21:13).
8. Jehovah will not only restore the scattered outcasts of Israel (Isa 11:12; Ps 147:2) to their own land, but |will gather others ('strangers') to him (Israel), besides those gathered| (Margin, |to his gathered|; that is, in addition to the Israelites collected from their dispersion), (Joh 10:16; Eph 1:10; 2:19).
9. beasts -- Gentile idolatrous nations hostile to the Jews, summoned by God to chastise them (Jer 12:7-9; 50:17; Eze 34:5): the Chaldeans and subsequently the Romans. The mention of the |outcasts of Israel| (Isa 56:8) brings in view the outcasting, caused by the sins of their rulers (Isa 56:10-12).
to devour -- namely, Israel.
10. His watchmen -- Israel's spiritual leaders (Isa 62:6; Eze 3:17).
dumb dogs -- image from bad shepherds' watchdogs, which fail to give notice, by barking, of the approach of wild beasts.
blind -- (Mt 23:16).
sleeping, lying down -- rather, |dreamers, sluggards| [Lowth]. Not merely sleeping inactive, but under visionary delusions.
loving to slumber -- not merely slumbering involuntarily, but loving it.
11. greedy -- literally, |strong| (that is, insatiable) in appetite (Eze 34:2, 3; Mic 3:11).
cannot understand -- unable to comprehend the wants of the people, spiritually: so Isa 56:10, |cannot bark.|
look to ... own way -- that is, their own selfish interests; not to the spiritual welfare of the people (Jer 6:13; Eze 22:27).
from his quarter -- rather, |from the highest to the lowest| [Lowth]. |From his quarter|; that is, from one end to the other of them, one and all (Ge 19:4).
12. fetch wine -- language of the national teachers challenging one another to drink. Barnes translates, |I will take another cup| (Isa 5:11).
to-morrow, &c. -- Their self-indulgence was habitual and intentional: not merely they drink, but they mean to continue so.